Cross-resistance between biocides and antibiotics doesn’t seem to be a problem

e-coliA new study from Jordan has reinforced that cross-resistance between biocides and antibiotics doesn't seem to be a problem. The study found that although multidrug-resistant E. coli were commonly identified from the environment in both hospital and community settings, there was no evidence of cross-resistance between antibiotics and biocides, and all E. coli were susceptible to in-use concentrations of biocides.

21 of 430 environmental samples from two hospitals and 10 homes grew E. coli. Almost half of the isolates were multidrug-resistant, and two thirds were ESBL-producers by phenotype. Surprisingly, there was no difference in the rate of ESBL-producers between hospital and community isolates. Also, the MIC of biocides (including ethanol, chloroxylenol, cetrimide and iodine) were all below in-use concentrations, and similar between community and hospital isolates. Perhaps most importantly, there was no association between antibiotic and biocide susceptibility.

The potential association between biocide and antibiotic resistance has been reviewed in detail before. The European Union produced a report in 2009 concluding that there was limited evidence of biocide and antibiotic cross-resistance. This is because the mechanisms of action of antibiotics and biocides are fundamentally different. Antibiotics tend to have a very specific target, in interrupting the metabolism of bacterial cells, whereas biocides tend to have multiple physical targets and do not rely on interrupting metabolism to be effective. We need to keep an eye on the potential for cross-resistance between biocides and antibiotics - but for now, it is not a problem.

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Updates from ECCMID 2018

Our clinical team spent some time at ECCMID in Madrid last week, and have summarised some of the key updates from our point of view.

eccmid

  • Loreen Herwaldt gave an overview on the state of the art in IPC, focussing on the need for continuous innovation. We agree - and GAMA continues to explore innovative technology and solutions to address HCAI and AMR.
  • Jon Otter discussed the emergence of multidrug resistant Gram-negative bacteria, arming hospitals with a strategy to deal with these challenging bacteria when they first arrive. Jon 'asked the audience' whether hand hygiene or contaminated surfaces are most important in preventing the spread of CPE in hospitals. Whilst the majority of the audience chose hand hygiene, we beg to differ. As one tweeter put it, there's no point in practicing good hand hygiene is the environment is heavily contaminated with pathogens!
  • Ben Cooper talked about the utility of mathematical modelling in informing IPC strategy. Whilst it's not reasonable to expect a model to do the thinking for you, it can give us some answers to questions that we can't answer with physical experiments. And Ben highlighted a couple review articles about how mathematical modelling can help to understand the transmission of infectious diseases and could be hypothesis-generating for IPC (here and here).
  • Marc Bonten outlined the knowledge base for IPC; whilst limited, it's improving with high-quality (albeit pragmatic) randomised controlled trials of IPC interventions coming through (for example, the BETR-D trial showing that UVC room disinfection reduces the acquisition of MDROs).
  • Several presenters, including Gili Regev-Yochay from Israel, highlighted the importance of addressing sink and drain contamination in order to prevention the transmission of CPE. Exactly how to do this is still an open question! Do we replace them? Bleach them? Or even remove them altogether?!
  • Several presentations highlighted the importance of addressing the contaminated environment when trying to control Candida auris (for example Oxford and Spain).
  • A study from Taiwan found that improving environmental cleaning through education reduced the incidence of MDRO acquisition.
  • And finally, a brave set of Brazilian researchers (in full PPE!) deliberately contaminated a mocked up hospital room with live norovirus and demonstrated that normal cleaning activities result in aerosolisation of live virus. So, PPF3 masks for cleaners then!
  • We hope you find this summary useful - please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions!

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